Monthly Archives: August 2006

Settling, Compromising & Negotiating: What are the Differences?

Too often we think we have successfully compromised or negotiated an issue with a loved one and, in fact, we have actually given up, given in or settled.

Giving Up and Giving In

Giving up and giving in are completely unacceptable ways of resolving issues, handling disagreements or solving problems. Giving up and giving in are signs that you feel powerless and undeserving. Anger and resentment are sure to follow. Nothing good ever comes from giving up or giving in!

Settling
Settling is a behavior of the injured, younger part of yourself. It is that part of you which lacks belief and trust that you are loveable and that you deserve what you need and want.

Settling is often the result of you not recognizing that your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, needs and wants are legitimate. When you do not honor your right to have your needs and regard them as legitimate, be aware, you will more than likely settle.

Compromising & Negotiating
Compromising and negotiating are behaviors of your integrated adult. It is that part of you that is emotionally mature and emotionally literate.

Your integrated adult is wise, rational and loving and you can trust your decisions, communications and behaviors when they are sourced from that part of you.

The art of compromising and negotiating requires that two or more people combine the qualities or elements of different things and reach consent by mutual agreement. Compromising and negotiating often mean an accommodation in which both sides make concessions.

Compromise is often a middle way between two extremes. Negotiation is often a discussion in which each person decides what and how much to concede or accommodate and mutually agree to the outcome.

Compromising and negotiating can only occur when you honor and respect your thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, needs and wants, hopes and dreams and deem them legitimate; are able and willing to ask for what you need and want; and are able and willing to receive what you have asked for.

Call timeout on giving up, giving in and settling. Go for fully honoring who you are and design and live your best life and love life!

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

The Difference Between Solitude and Loneliness

Have you ever wanted some time alone? Has anyone ever told you s/he needed “some space?” The notions of solitude, loneliness and being alone are often confusing or misunderstood, especially by committed partners.

One way to look at this is to say that solitude is the joy of being alone while loneliness is the pain of being alone. Being alone is not necessarily to be lonely. Being alone involves only physical separation, but being lonely includes both spiritual and psychological separation or isolation.

According to author Richard J. Foster, “solitude is an inner fulfillment, while loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is a voluntary retreat from the company of other people and loneliness seems beyond our control.” Theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich writes, “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”

All too often men and women are threatened by their partners needing or wanting “space”…an opportunity to enjoy solitude. They somehow feel that if their partners really loved them they wouldn’t want to be apart from them. Or they take it personally and project that they have done or said something that has offended their partner and s/he now wants to get away. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Solitude is the ability to enjoy inward quietness. Times of solitude are frequently enriching and refreshing if we use them wisely. When we choose times of limited seclusion we often experience new perspectives that help us know more fully the things that really matter. Solitude is the prerequisite for creativity and the place in which we can discover the treasure chest of tranquility and serenity and all their benefits.

The fact of the matter is that the state of “aloneness” is the same whether we are suffering loneliness or enjoying solitude. The only difference is in our attitude toward ourselves. In solitude we enjoy spending time alone, because we know that we are in the best company there is! In loneliness we believe we are alone because nobody wants to be with us.

Loneliness is not simply a matter of being alone, but rather the feeling that no one really cares what happens to you. It is the painful awareness that we lack close and meaningful contact with others, which produces feelings of being cut off from them.

According to Mother Teresa, "The biggest disease is not leprosy or cancer. It is the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted – of being deserted and alone."

If you are lonely examine your fears and your attitudes. Have you built walls of defense instead of bridges? Are you afraid of closeness with others, getting hurt, failing, or perhaps the pain of losing someone you love?

Are you filling your life by being busy, seeking out and spending time with people you may not particularly like? Or are you filling up the spaces of your life with lots of noise from the radio, TV, DVD’s or surfing the net endlessly?

If you feel the pain of loneliness or the fear of your partner needing to create a time for solitude, please consider reading this terrific new book, There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Soft Addictions written by Judith Wright. While this book doesn’t address the notions of solitude, aloneness or loneliness in so many words, Ms. Wright explores the whole idea of soft addictions, which I refer to as “being busy and making noise.” These only serve to distract us from listening to our inner knowing and deepening our inner awareness.

Creating opportunities for solitude and becoming comfortable in your own company are skills you can learn and which will be hugely beneficial throughout your life.

Get to work. You’re worth it!

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

Commitment: What Are We Committing and To Whom?

Part Two in a Two Part Series

Last post we explored several important questions about commitment:

What is a Commitment?

      When we talk about love and commitment we are really talking about attaching to or connecting with people and things. When we are able to connect we feel joyful and content.

What Does It Mean to Make a Commitment?

      When we make a commitment to another person we are making the agreement to be present and available … physically, mentally and emotionally.   

What is Accountability?
      Being held accountable means we accept responsibility for the results of our choices, decisions and behaviors instead of blaming others or external factors.

Why Are Some Couples Successful Making Commitments and Agreements
?
      Couples who have clarified their own personal values, and individual and couple visions and purpose have a stronger foundation from which to commit to their agreements and achieve more consistent and satisfying results.

This week I want to focus on crafting elegant agreements that accurately reflect the nature and structure of a couple’s unique relationship and serve to inform the foundation of their commitments.

Life is an ongoing process of creating agreements with others. An effective agreement means more than getting another person to do what you want. It means buy-in and true commitment from both people.

Most couples have hopes and dreams, and desires and expectations. They establish goals and make commitments that are developed from a joint visioning process; a process that expresses an inclusive vision of desired outcomes; their road map to success!

Another way to look at this is that we join forces with others by forming agreements. Agreements are expressed in writing or verbally during very intentional conversations. Most of us have never learned how to craft effective, explicit agreements. It is a skill we were never taught, even though it is fundamental to all relationships and a basic life skill.

While this is a method offered for committed partners, any two or more people who wish to make agreements can easily adapt it. So here goes!

Here is a straightforward 15-step method you can use to craft elegant and effective agreements:

   1. Create and clearly articulate your joint vision with as much rich detail as possible. Be sure that both of you participate with eagerness and passion;

   2. Be sure that both of you are creating the agreement with intention and with a belief that you are well served making and honoring the agreement;

   3. Make a list of each person’s strengths, gifts, skills and talents that are available to be drawn on by each of you.

   4. Identify, with as much detail as possible, all the aspects of what it is you are coming to agreement about. A joint plan works best when you are both working toward the same joint vision;

   5. Be certain that each of you understands and acknowledges the actions (behaviors), attitudes, and responsibilities that are associated with the agreement for yourself and your partner;

   6. Decide together if the actions and attitudes are sufficient to result in the desired outcome(s). If they are not, identify what additional actions and attitudes must be included and by whom;

   7. All agreements must have specific time deadlines for each part of the agreement to be completed or finalized. These are “by whens”—by when will you do this, and by when will you do that. In addition, the time period the agreement will be in force must be specified.

   8. Does the agreement as a whole and do all the parts of the agreement forward the joint vision?

   9. Clearly identify the evidence or positive outcome(s) that you expect to result for each person from making and honoring the agreement;

  10. Does the agreement as a whole and do all the parts of the agreement truly satisfy each person and result in each person being whole? Being whole refers to being sure that neither person experiences a loss or losses as a result of pledging their time, attention and commitment to the agreement;

  11. Bring all your concerns and fears to this discussion. This can often minimize the disagreements that may occur during the process of crafting the agreement. This discussion will deepen your commitment to the agreement and to your partner or reveal a problem that might already be brewing in the relationship.

  12. No matter how optimistic and clear you both are when you craft an agreement, one or both of you will likely come back to the table and ask for the agreement to be renegotiated or changed in some way at some time. This is not a personal failure or a failure of the process! This is an expected, anticipated part of crafting and honoring agreements!

  13. It is critical to include a mechanism that will take into consideration the many changes that normally and naturally occur over time in a couple’s relationship. Being realistic about this at the beginning enables the relationship to evolve and prosper. It is imperative to provide each person with a way to accommodate change — an exit strategy you can both follow with dignity. Anyone who feels imprisoned in an agreement, commitment or relationship will not be his or her best self or offer all possible personal contributions to forward the joint vision.

  14. It is inevitable for conflicts and disagreements to arise, and perhaps, one of you will not honor the agreement. Establish an attitude of good will and good intention and a plan to repair hurt feelings and disappointments;

  15. Both people must be responsible to ensure that the agreement is honored;
      Unless and until you are satisfied, do not move into action. Do not agree. Be sure each person is satisfied, ready to take action, and that outcome will be worth it and the joint vision becomes more of a reality.

 

Now that you have a solid model for crafting elegant agreements your work is to decide what you want to agree and commit to and to whom. This work starts by becoming more and more aware of who you are, what you want, what you value, and how to get your needs met respectfully and responsibly. Review the Tips on vision, life purpose and values (May 04, 2003), making and keeping commitments (May 25, 2003), setting boundaries (July 13 & 20, 2003) and resolving conflict (July 27, 2003).

Ask yourself:

  • Are you a committed couple who is strengthening your bond and deepening your intimacy and trust day-by-day and year-by-year?
  • Are you engaging in meaningful family and work relationships and friendships, and asking for what you want, saying your real yes and your real no and hearing others who may be asking you for something?
  • Are you crafting agreements consciously and with intention?
  • Do you expect others to honor their agreements and commitments and do you intend to honor yours?

One of the best books I have ever read, written by an extraordinary couple for extraordinary couples, is Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment. Drs. Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks wrote this timeless book and they talk frankly about what it takes to create co-committed relationships complete with exercises to guide couples who are courageous enough to be on the sacred journey of committed coupleship together.

Whether you are a committed couple or an amazing singleton, as they call it in the UK, let’s educate ourselves about agreements, commitments, boundaries, conflict, and fidelity. Let’s start risking being our deepest most magnificent selves! Join me and let’s start today!

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

 

Commitment: What Are We Committing and To Whom?

Part One in a Two Part Series

Do you make commitments? If so, to whom do you make commitments? What do you make commitments about? What does making a commitment mean to you?

Do you honor the commitments you make? Do you expect others to honor their commitments? Absolutely? Mostly? Nearly always?

I have recently been rudely awakened to the unfortunate reality that commitments made by partners in committed relationships may not mean what they used to. I am outraged and alarmed to say the least!

Last week I had the great pleasure of interviewing Shirley Glass, Ph.D. on my radio show. Dr. Glass is considered one of the world’s leading experts on infidelity and the author of the groundbreaking new book NOT “Just Friends”: Protect Your Relationship from Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal.

Dr. Glass explains that there is a new crisis of infidelity occurring in the workplace. “In the new infidelity,” she says, “one doesn’t have to have sex to be unfaithful, and infidelity is not between people who are intentionally seeking thrills, as commonly believed. Good people in good marriages — men and women who say they are happily married — are unwittingly forming deep, passionate connections before realizing that they have crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love.”

In the May 2003 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, Carol Lynn Mithers reports in her Special Report, Looking For Love 2003 Style, “If anything, workplace romance may be as much of a marriage buster as a happy hunting ground. In an on-line survey of 30,000 people done last year, nearly half said they had dallied in an office romance even though they were already in a relationship or married.”

And if all this is not enough, the subject line of a recent e-mail newsletter from Smartmarriages®, July 22, 2003 read: Online Dating Irresistible to Some Married Folks. The newsletter reports a study of in-depth online interviews with men and women who use Yahoo’s "Married and Flirting" or Microsoft’s "Married But Flirting" Internet chat rooms geared specifically for married people.

What is happening to honoring commitments and agreements in committed relationships today?

Perhaps in this new world of high tech information, instant gratification and instant messaging, we have misplaced the art of creating and honoring commitments and agreements.

What is Commitment?
When we talk about love and commitment we are really talking about attaching to or connecting with people and things. We connect to ideals, institutions and beliefs; to our families, pets, circle of friends, acquaintances and co-workers; to our community and the planet; and, if we are really blessed, to one very special love.

When we are able to connect we feel joyful and content. Poor connections can make us feel angry, sad and truly miserable. And the lack of meaningful connections or attachments in our lives can make us feel despair and empty inside ourselves.

What Does It Mean to Make a Commitment?
When we make a commitment to another person we are making the agreement to be present and available … physically, mentally and emotionally.

We make agreements by exercising our personal choice. We communicate directly to others about what we will do, how we will behave and what they can reasonably expect from us, and we are willing to be held accountable.

We honor the agreements we make by choosing the behavior that is driven by our values. A colleague of mine once said, “Our personal values are the set of principles we live by and continually develop as we live our life. Principles are like lighthouses — we can either use them to guide us or we can choose to go against them and smash into pieces on the rocks!”

What is Accountability?
Being held accountable means we accept responsibility for the results of our choices, decisions and behaviors instead of blaming others or external factors. Individuals who believe they are in charge of the quality and direction of their lives, rather than victims of circumstance, are empowered to move forward. They focus on solutions, not problems, and they move forward towards the goals and commitments of their shared vision and purpose, both as individuals and as a couple.

Why Are Some Couples Successful Making Commitments and Agreements?

Couples who have clarified their own personal values, and individual and couple visions and purpose have a stronger foundation from which to commit to their agreements and achieve more consistent and satisfying results. Their overall effectiveness in making and honoring agreements is greatly increased. Success is an almost certainty when both partners keep their agreements and most certainly can be at risk if one person doesn’t keep his or her agreements.

Next time we will talk about crafting elegant agreements that accurately reflect the nature and structure of a couple’s unique relationship and that serve to inform the foundation of their commitments.

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

Dr Jackie Black Newsletter


Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com